Rogers Applauds Florida Governor and State Officials for Implementing Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Apr 14 2011
Today, U.S. Representative Hal Rogers (KY-05) hailed the hard-fought implementation of Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring System (PDMP). After months of pleading by federal and state officials, in a congressional hearing today, Governor Rick Scott reversed his stance in opposition to Florida’s PDMP roll-out and testified that the Florida Department of Health has begun implementation of the database.
Governor Scott's decision comes just weeks after Rogers and other officials, including Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, expressed sharp criticism for his refusal to implement the state's monitoring system which was passed into law in 2009.
"It is no secret Florida’s pill mills have been ground zero for the illicit diversion of the drugs that are wreaking havoc in Kentucky and around the country, and I’m glad Governor Scott has finally seen the light,” stated Rogers. “This is a great day for the Commonwealth and all of our neighboring states that have been impacted by the prescription pain pills rapidly funneling out of Florida to feed the addiction epidemic plaguing our families. Every day, we lose three people to overdose-related deaths in Kentucky, and now is no time to shy away from the immense challenge of shutting down the pill pipeline."
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), 98 of the top 100 doctors dispensing Oxycodone nationally are in Florida, concentrated in the Miami, Tampa, and Orlando regions. 126 million Oxycodone pills are dispensed through pharmacies in those regions, which is by far more than any other state in the nation.
In his testimony to the Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Governor Scott said, "together, if we hold the manufacturers, wholesalers, doctors and pharmacies accountable, we can win this fight," and highlighted a newly formed Statewide Drug Strike Force to facilitate multi-agency cooperation in battling the drug epidemic. As part of the hearing, Rogers also provided written testimony.
Earlier this week, Florida's Surgeon General issued a final order to end a contract bidding dispute that had also blocked implementation of the system. Officials expect Florida's PDMP to be up and running within 90 days.
"The 'Oxy Express' is headed for a shutdown," said Rogers. "Law enforcement agencies in Florida will soon have the tools they need to coordinate with agencies along the pill pipeline route and will be putting the brakes on these interstate dealers."
Rogers is the Co-Chairman of the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse in the U.S. House of Representatives and a co-sponsor of “The Pill Mill Crackdown Act of 2011” (H.R. 1065) that includes key provisions to support state-based prescription monitoring programs, turn illicit drug assets into drug treatment dollars, strengthen prescription standards for certain addictive pain drugs, and toughen prison terms and fines for pill mill operators.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information visit www.halrogers.house.gov.